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Q & A with the Board of Directors!

Written By: Judith June 19, 2009 No Comment

board1Last Thursday, we promised to post all questions and answers after our Board of Directors shared their role with the youth of YFT. Please see thier replies below. If anyone has any other questions, we would love to answer them.

Where does the Board of Directors (BOD) plan to take Youth First Texas (YFT) from here?

The BOD is currently developing a 5 year strategic plan for the organization. The vision we are basing this on includesLeasing a safer, more modern space for the next 5 years Developing a plan to purchase a permanent home for YFT. Expanding staffExpanded programmingStrong Youth Lead ProgramsExpanded social services support and availability like individual and group counseling, temporary housing, job training, increased educational opportunitiesOpportunities to be visible and contributing members of the larger Metroplex LGBT community.

What changes will be seen at YFT and how can the youth get involved?

We will always be changing and growing, youth need to be involved in that bybeing in touch with the Youth Board (YB);joining committees the YB establishes;volunteering to a BOD member to be on a BOD committeeattending and contributing in regular Board meetingspresenting ideas for programs and services to staff, board members and/or volunteersattending GSA meetings at your schools to spread the word about YFT and the services it providesSome changes that we foresee could be in staffing and programming. Youth would help provide feedback on this by helping the board answer these questions:What kind of staffing roles/positions would you like to add?What new programs would you like to start?What programs, if any, aren’t effective and need to be reworked or eliminated?

Do you see your role a more of a parental-figure, role model, or what?

The BOD has defined “role” to act as the responsible agent in money, planning and staffing matters for the organization. Beyond that, we are all successful professionally and could be looked upon as role models. The reality of this is that no one chooses to be a role model it just happens.It’s not likely that the members of the BOD views themselves as parental figures, but we do get to wear different hats, so at any one time, we could be playing a different role. For example, when we have to make organizational decisions such as determining how much money to spend on rent, we are acting in a custodial role for the organization. Other times, you will see board members serving as mentors or helping staff Youth events. So in those cases, we are then in more of a volunteer type role.There is always a balancing act that the adults in the YFT organization must master. They must learn to establish positive, healthy relationships with the youth, while always remembering that they do have to bring a certain level of authority from time to time. So this does mean we sometimes have to make decisions that may make us appear to fill more of a parent style role.

What other affiliations are y’all involved with?

Board members of YFT bring a wide range of talents to the organization. Some have been actively involved in non-profits while others work in the corporate, for-profit spectrum. For some, this is their only focus as far as volunteering while for others, they support multiple volunteer organizations.
As the board of directors of Youth First has grown in number over the years, it has been a goal to put members on the board who bring a wide range of diversity to the board. By this, we mean not just race or gender, but rather their backgrounds as well. Because the board must make a lot of business decisions, having accountants, lawyers, counselors or teachers for example, will allow the board to better solve issues that arise because of the expertise that these individuals bring from their day jobs.

Why did you choose to on the Board of Directors at YFT?

This answer would be slightly different for each board member, however I am sure we all began by wanting to contribute to our community, and then deciding that YFT is a place that we could give back, and most greatly affect the future of our community. YFT is also a very well respected organization in Dallas and in some cases, statewide and nationwide. Serving on this board brings with it a sense of honor. We are honored to continue to carry the YFT message for the future. YFT has a bright future in front of it that each board member is eager to see fulfilled

What do you all discuss at the board meetings?

All board members hold a responsibility of a board committee, organizational committee or liaison within the organization or greater community. We are all responsible for generating a report to the BOD each meeting on the progress these committees make. We also discuss business brought before the BOD by not only these committees but the staff alike and make decisions about the direction we take on that business. These committees includeFinance (making sure we have proper accounting for all monies)Community Outreach (build bonds with the community we serve)Governance (the board making sure the board members follow their own rules)Executive (employment and board issues)Fundraising (finding new money for YFT so we can survive and grow)New Space (temporary committee charged with finding a new building to replace the one we are in)Once a year, the staff of YFT submits a proposed budget to the board spelling out in detail the financial needs for the year. It is the board’s job to review and discuss that budget and make revision suggestions and finally, approve the budget.The staff presents their status reports to the board on a monthly basis and the board reviews that information.If there are ever sensitive or private matters, the board will have a board members only meeting. Generally these are limited to when personnel decisions are made or on issues where a certain level of confidence must be maintained.

What are the responsibilities of the Board of Directors?

As spelled out in the Bylaws -
It shall be the duty of the directors to: Perform any and all duties imposed on them collectively or individually by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these Bylaws;Appoint and remove, employ and discharge, and, except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, prescribe the duties and fix the compensation, if any, of all officers, agents and employees of the corporation;Supervise all officers, agents and employees of the corporation to assure that their duties are performed properly;Meet at such times and places as required by these Bylaws;Register their physical and electronic addresses with the Secretary of the corporation, and notices of meetings mailed or electronically mailed or telegraphed to them at such addresses shall be valid notices thereof.

The Co-Chairs shall be the chief executive officers of the corporation and shall, subject to the control of the Board of Directors, supervise and control the affairs of the corporation and the activities of the officers. They shall perform all duties incident to their office and such other duties as may be required by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these Bylaws, or which may be prescribed from time to time by the Board of Directors. Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these Bylaws, they shall, in the name of the corporation, execute such deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts, checks, or other instruments which may from time to time be authorized by the Board of Directors.

The Secretary shall: Certify and keep at the principal office of the corporation the original, or a copy, of these Bylaws as amended or otherwise altered to date. Keep at the principal office of the corporation or at such other place as the Board of Directors may determine, a book of minutes of all meetings of the directors, and, if applicable, meetings of committees of directors and of members, recording therein the time and place of holding, whether regular or special, how called, how notice thereof was given, the names of those present or represented at the meeting, and the proceedings thereof. See that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws or as required by law. Be custodian of the records and of-the seal of the corporation and affix the seal, as authorized by law or the provisions of these Bylaws, to duly executed documents of the corporation. Exhibit at all reasonable times to any director of the corporation, or to his or her agent or attorney, on request therefore, the Bylaws, and the minutes of the proceedings of the directors of the corporation. In general, perform all duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as may be required by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these Bylaws, or which may be assigned to him or her from time to time by the Board of Directors.

The Treasurer shall have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all funds and securities of the corporation, and deposit all such funds in the name of the corporation in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories as shall be selected by the Board of Directors. Receive, and give receipt for, monies due and payable to the corporation from any source whatsoever. Disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the corporation as may be directed by the Board of Directors, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements. Keep and maintain adequate and correct accounts of the corporation’s properties and business transactions, including accounts of its assets, liabilities, receipts, disbursements, gains and losses. Exhibit at all reasonable times the books of account and financial records to any director of the corporation, or to his or her agent or attorney, on request therefore. Render to the Co-Chairs and directors, whenever requested, an account of any or all of his or her transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the corporation. Prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify, or cause to be certified, the financial statements to be included in any required reports. In general, perform, or cause to be performed, duties incident to the office of Treasurer and such other duties as may be required by law, by the Articles of Incorporation of the corporation, or by these Bylaws, or which may be assigned to him or her from time to time by the Board of Directors.
The following is not spelled out in the bylaws;, however, is implied and we operate under this model:
All directors, not listed as officers, shall chair a committee of the BOD as named by the BOD: New Space Committee; Revenue Development Committee, Community Outreach Committee; Nominations Committee, Governance Committee, Youth Board Liaison

What is your plan to reach out to new youth?

This is really a question for staff, and frankly youth, however we would like to continue to reach out to new youth through the GSA network in North Texas, by maintaining a web presence, and of course word of mouth by the youth at YFT. Some of our best outreach are really things like the after prom party where we give new youth an opportunity to walk through our doors socially. We would also like to expand our satellite groups (like the Collin County group) to places like Ft. Worth and Denton in Tarrant and Denton counties.We also plan to use our resources to expand the programs and services we offer at YFT. By adding these additional services, we will be better prepared to help the new youth who do come to YFT seeking specific help or services. Also, by offering these services, other organizations will be able to lead more youth to our doors that need our assistance.Ultimately, however, the best way to reach more youth is for the current youth of YFT to outreach to them.

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